The Attorney-General's Chambers (AGC) needs more time to decide on a representation submitted by former treasury secretary-general Mohd Irwan Serigar Abdullah regarding a criminal breach of trust (CBT) case he is facing together with Najib Razak, the High Court was told today.
The former prime minister and Irwan were charged in 2018 on six counts of CBT involving Malaysian government funds totalling RM6.6 billion in relation to payments to the International Petroleum Investment Company (Ipic).
Deputy public prosecutor Muhammad Saifuddin Hashim Musaimi told High Court judge Muhammad Jamil Hussin that he had instruction from attorney-general (AG) Idrus Harun to seek another case management date.
"We need time to study the letter of representation because this case involved a huge amount of RM6 billion. If possible, we want to apply for a September date," he said.
Najib's lawyer Muhammad Shafee Abdullah did not object to the prosecution's application but N Kumaraendran, who was representing Irwan, asked for an earlier date in July.
"The charge has been hanging on my client's head for five years. He was charged in 2018 and the case was transferred to the High Court in 2019. Then various dates were fixed for the hearing and for various reasons the dates were vacated.
"The matter then was fixed for a full trial on April 3, and the prosecution gave reasons to vacate the trial date by giving the reason that the AG needs time to consider the representation. September is too long a date for mention … A short (mention) date of two months (in July) should be sufficient to put pressure on them (prosecution) to get an early decision," said Kumaraendran.
The court then fixed Aug 9 this year for case management to enable the prosecution to update it on the status of the representation.
Najib filed his representation two years ago but it was rejected while the first representation sent by Irwan in 2020 was not replied to by the AGC, prompting Irwan to send another representation in March this year.
On Oct 24, 2018, Najib, 69, and Irwan, 66, pleaded not guilty to the six charges, which were framed under Section 409 of the Penal Code and read together with Section 34 of the same law, which provides for up to 20 years' jail and whipping, and possible fine, on conviction.
They allegedly committed all the offences at the finance ministry in Putrajaya, between Dec 21, 2016 and Dec 18, 2017.
Meanwhile, in a separate proceeding on the money laundering case involving SRC International Sdn Bhd funds of RM27 million faced by Najib, High Court judge K Muniandy today fixed Aug 18 for case management.
The date was fixed after deputy public prosecutor Mohd Ashrof Adrin Kamarul told the court that UK-based King's Counsel Jonathan Laidlaw’s appeal for admission as a lawyer to represent Najib in the SRC International trial would be heard on Aug 10 by the Federal Court.
"Your Lordship, Najib’s application to review the decision in the SRC International RM42 million misappropriation case at the Federal Court has been completed. However, a hearing for Laidlaw’s appeal was set for Aug 10. In this connection, I would like to apply for another date to inform this court of the status of the case," he said.
On Feb 3, 2019, Najib pleaded not guilty to three charges of receiving a sum of RM27 million in unlawful proceeds through three AmPrivate Banking accounts belonging to him.
He allegedly committed the offences at AmIslamic Bank Berhad, Bangunan Ambank Group, Jalan Raja Chulan on July 8, 2014.
The charges, under Section 4(1)(a) of the Anti-Money Laundering and Anti-Terrorism Financing Act 2001, provide for a maximum jail term of five years and RM5 million fine, or both, on conviction.